SAN FRANCISCO – A Northern California sheriff said Monday that the researchers have carried out their first long interview with a woman who disappeared while jogging three weeks ago and then turned up on the side of a highway, beaten and chained to a “heavy object.”
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said that he had not yet spoken in detail with the researchers, which is still a review of their interview with the 34-year-old Sherri Papini. But Bosenko said he still has no reason to doubt her horrific abduction story.
Bosenko said the researchers are looking for two women who released Papini approximately 140 km south of where she had last seen in the vicinity of Redding, California.
The authorities have released few details of the case, citing the “critical and active research.”
Here is a look at what we know, plus some of the outstanding questions about the case.
On Nov. 2, Papini pulled a pink shirt, picked up her cell phone and earbuds and went for a jog in her rural district in the vicinity of Redding, about 160 miles north of Sacramento.
Her husband Keith Papini went to look for her when he returned home from work that evening and neither his wife, nor their two young children were home. The couple’s daycare provider told Keith Papini his 34-year-old woman didn’t pick up of their children in the afternoon.
With the help of an iPhone app, Keith Papini found her phone and earbuds about a mile away, but his 5-foot-3-inch, 100-pound woman was nowhere to be found. He called the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department, which is the beginning of an intensive land and air search involving hundreds of volunteers, family and friends and several law enforcement agencies.
A $50,000 reward was offered for her safe return.
WHEN SHE WAS FOUND?
Sherri Papani was found for the dawn Thanksgiving Day along Interstate 5 near Sacramento.
Shasta County Sheriff Bosenko says Sherri Papani with the flag down a passing motorist, despite her hands being bound. Responding California Highway Patrol officers reported that she was chained to a heavy object, but the authorities have not elaborated on the nature of its limitations.
Bosenko says the woman was ‘very emotional’ and battered as found. He said she was treated and released from an area hospital, where her husband was “on her side.”
The sheriff declined to discuss the details of Papani’s injuries.
ARE THERE SUSPECTS?
Bosenko said authorities are looking for two Spanish women, armed with a gun and driving a dark SUV.
On Thursday, he called on potential witnesses to contact the authorities and said researchers were working on more than 400 tips.
He said that researchers have “sensitive information” which has not yet been discussed in public, because the incident is “still a critical active research.”
WHAT ARE THE AUTHORITIES AND FAMILY SAY?
For Sherri Papani was found, the police had submitted at least 20 search warrants in the court linked to the research. Many remained sealed. ABC News reported investigators were also looking through her computer records, probing past relationships and searching for surveillance footage could provide clues.
“Of course, she was emotional and very angry, but elated to be freed, so we could have some information from her,” Bosenko told “Good Morning America.
Later, the sheriff told ABC News that the police have no reason to believe that the woman’s story.
“She was beaten and had injuries which she was treated for,” Bosenko said.
Sherri Papani the sister of Sheila Koester, told The Associated Press the family was “very grateful and very excited” about her return safely.
Speaking separately at a press conference, Koester refused to answer questions about her sister’s disappearance and the investigation, say they knew no details.
“Now that she has been through a very traumatic event and needs time with her family,” the 36-year-old Cherish said.
WHAT IS UNCLEAR?
The authorities have not said where they believe that Papini was held during her three weeks to disappear, nor have they spoken to you about possible motives.
The Papinis are not rich and no ransom was demanded for her safe return.
THE COMMUNITY IS ON THE EDGE?
Sandra Oswald, a 29-year-old community organizer in Redding, had helped with the execution of search groups to search for the missing woman. Oswald is a runner, as Papini, and said her sudden disappearance hit close to home.
“It was just the biggest blessing, not only for the family but for the community that tried to find her,” Oswald said of Papini ‘ s back. “Now, it’s just praying for them and her recovery.”
In the wake of Papini is found, the sheriff has urged the community to “be careful.”